Caen, a D-Day objective on 6 June 1944, did not fall to the British and Canadian troops of Second Army until 6 August, by which time much of the city had been reduced to rubble. The two-month struggle was a crucial stage in the Normandy campaign and, as Simon Forty demonstrates in this photographic history, one of the most controversial.
His detailed, graphic account gives the reader a fascinating insight into the opposing forces, the conditions, the terrain, the equipment and weaponry deployed – and it illustrates just how intense and protracted the fighting was on the ground.
The reasons for the slow Allied advance have been hotly disputed. Deficiencies in British and Canadian equipment and tactics have been blamed, as has the tenacity of the German resistance. Ultimately a sequence of Allied operations sapped the defenders’ strength, and it is these operations – Perch, Martlet, Epsom, Windsor, Charnwood, Jupiter, Atlantic, Goodwood – that feature strongly in the striking photographs that have been selected for this book.
They record in the most dramatic fashion the character of the fighting and show how even the SS divisions and heavy tank battalions were eventually defeated.
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